The Courtesan's Keeper: Samaya Mātrikā
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This feast of smiles was put together giving the secret strategies and all the tricks of courtesans
One of Kshemendra's finest satires, The Courtesan's Keeper is a delightful and rambunctious rendition of the life and times of the courtesan Kankali as she teaches the ways of the world to her ward Kalavati. From the attractive courtesan and her shrewd keeper to the experienced barber and the avaricious trader, the book brings to life the vibrant society of Kashmir Valley a thousand years ago through a host of characters, each drawn in vivid detail. With its terse narrative, directness and economy of style, and fast-paced action, the book is fully suited for the twenty-first-century reader.
were: a junior officer named Kshinasara; Kamalakara, a bureaucrat; the drama teacher Rechaka; the goldsmith Kshunnapani; Simhagupta the astrologer; a doctor’s son, Tikta; and Kutilaka, a poet. They had already instructed the boy on decorum while they waited outside the house. After coming in, he sat down boldly by the girl’s side like a mature man. Covering half his nose with his sash, he then began to repeat the disagreeable, superior-sounding jokes he had learnt, just like a trained parrot.
definitely got hold of some money from his father’s house. Such audacity can never come out of an empty pocket. Even a mouse jumps about no end when there are foodgrains in its burrow. An elephant with a dried-up trunk can only go to sleep. ‘So, I am going to fix up this merchant’s son as the source of your livelihood. But first the hive must be rid of the bees, that is, I must arrange to get his hangers-on out of here. Every limb of ours is a rich, marketable treasure house. Why should these
stone. Covering each with a thick pad of cotton, she hid them in her cloak and went to the merchant’s store. ‘The propitious time for my journey on pilgrimage to Varanasi has arrived,’ she told the merchant. ‘Once I leave, I may not see you again. Here is a casket with all our gem-studded jewellery. It is the wealth of your son and his wife. You, sir, must always guard it as if it were your life.’ Having shown him all its contents and resealing the jewel casket, she placed it before him.
his feet as if intent on following him on to the funeral pyre. Prevented by his kinsmen from persisting in this course, of which she had put on a show, she spoke to them with the profound forbearance of a well-born woman. ‘“In a noble family,” said she, “widowhood can carry the stigma of unchaste conduct, which may be considered as the cause of my losing my husband. All this will be expunged by the fire.” And as evidence of her grim resolution, she sat silent and still like a rock, though this
travellers. And in the morning, taking possession of his load of goods, she moved on. Tightly girding the porter’s long rope around her ample middle, she carried the load on her head all day in great spirits. ‘Traversing perilous hills through barren, steep and snow-covered paths, she reached a place called Bamba as the day was ending. It was autumn, and though she had a thick and large blanket, she was suffering in the cold. Covering her face with her sash like a respectable woman, she timidly